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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Mallorca: Palma prohibits the rental of homes to tourists

Por Nina

The objective is to stop the speculative escalation of the purchase and rental prices of these properties. "There is a parallel between the evolution of the phenomenon of holiday rentals and the increase in residential rental prices," said José Hila, head of urban planning in the Mediterranean city. "All European cities are being transformed from one day to the next by this offer, we have to bring order, there will be holiday rentals in Palma, but there must be," he added.

The measure will come into force as of July. In this city of less than half a million inhabitants, between 2015 and 2017 the number of unregulated apartments that were leased to tourists increased 50% to reach 20,000 units, while there are only 645 licenses for this type of activity. The first measure that the authorities put into practice last year was to prohibit the rental ads of apartments to tourists on Internet sites such as Airbnb. Now for the first time, the city vetoes global tourist floors. Under the new norm, approved by the government of the capital of the island of Mallorca, the owners can only rent single-family homes to tourists. These are isolated houses or chalets, except those located in protected rustic land, near the airport and in non-residential areas.

For years the Federation of Neighborhood Associations had been requesting the prohibition of holiday rentals with the argument that Palma became the most expensive city to rent a flat in Spain, after Barcelona. The City Council of Palma had considered in principle the possibility of delimiting certain neighborhoods where the prohibition was established, but finally the authorities chose to apply the rule throughout the city.

They based their decision on a series of studies on the impact of this commercial activity in the city, which showed that 48% of tourist rental apartments are offered in periods of between seven and eight months, which leaves most of the neighbors without the option of residential rental. The increase in the price of leases was estimated at around 40% in recent years, a phenomenon that caused the indignation of those who do not have the resources to get a place to live.

"Palma is a determined and courageous city, we have agreed on the basis of general interest and we believe that it will set the trend for other cities that will understand that balances are key," said the city's mayor, Antoni Noguera. From this perspective, the ban would serve as a kind of pilot plan for other cities to study the experience and consider its applicability. But from the other side, critical voices warn that many families living on tourism will be affected financially, while small businesses said that summer leases increase consumption and generate an important source of income.

The conflicts derived from holiday rentals in the center of the cities are a topic that for years affects several cities in Spain and the rest of the world. The most obvious effect is the rise in the rental price of the houses, but there are also problems of coexistence, excessive noise and garbage. For now, the final impact of the new lease ban on tourists on the average price of Palma rentals remains to be seen. It is an experiment that is followed closely by the authorities and neighbors of other cities.